HMRI unveils fellowships for female researchers to combat 'silent brain drain'

HUNTER women in medical research will have access to a new fellowship launched on International Women’s Day. 

The Hunter Medical Research Institute’s fellowships are geared towards redressing career inequality and stemming a silent loss of female researchers. 

A funding pool revealed on Thursday will help support both part-time and full-time fellowships for mid-career female researchers over three, five or 10 years. 

The fellowships include a research support grant and a secured salary to help sustain the recipient’s project. 

HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson says the goal is to recruit and retain top scientists.

“The translation of medical research requires continuity over a sustained period, as one discovery often leads to another,” Professor Nilsson says.

“So if half of our intellectual capital is potentially being wasted at the mid-career juncture, then HMRI wants to be a leader in stemming that flow.

“It’s not a glass ceiling, more like a leaking floor – women drain out of the academic system particularly at the mid-stage of career progression.

“Significantly, more than half of all PhD graduates are women yet fewer than 20 per cent are professors in senior leadership roles.”

Mr Nilsson said HMRI was inviting companies, foundations and the community to help secure an equal future in the industry.